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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Stone Trophy Heads : Atlantic Watershed Basalt Trophy Head
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Atlantic Watershed Basalt Trophy Head - PF.3606
Origin: Eastern Coast of Costa Rica
Circa: 1000 AD to 1500 AD
Dimensions: 7.5" (19.1cm) high x 6.25" (15.9cm) wide x 7.75" (19.7cm) depth
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Basalt

Location: United States
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This basalt stone head with a stoic face carries an unusual ambience and weight. Although the head is depicted with simple incision lines, one cannot escape its poignant sense of presence. Estranged from the body, the stone head's almond-shaped eyes and the thin mouth is closed to create an esoteric mystery. The hair is rendered in an incised checkered pattern that is flat on the top. Such stone head is a symbol of human sacrificial rituals that were common in Ancient Costa Rica. During this period, people took trophy heads in battles for human sacrifice because they believed that such practice was necessary to maintain the agricultural fertility. Because of the strong belief in human sacrifice and pleasing the gods, conquests and wars became their fight to obtain the perfect victim for the sacrifice. The unique coiffure suggests that the sculpture is an image of a specific individual. Moreover, considering the small size of the stone head, it could also be a rendition of a shrunken trophy head. Mesoamericans believed in their humble position and their duty to offer the best for God's mercy. The agricultural prosperity depended upon human sacrificed and this basalt trophy head well indicates the people's desire for God's benevolence. - (PF.3606)


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